Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduced a new set of plans for gang crime reduction this week, but a close look reveals little to get excited about:
1. The Stick: The two proposals that the Mayor can actually accomplish himself are simply punitive measures whose harmful effects are not limited to gang members, but can hurt innocent family as well. Car seizures and evictions do not just affect the gang member being targeted, they affect parents and siblings as well.
2. The Carrot: The proposal with the best potential are all out of the Mayor’s hands. Further closing the loopholes in the gun laws is a good thing, but I really like the bullet ID proposal, which has been floated around for quite a while but has gained less traction than one would hope. This idea is to micro stamp bullets so that they can be matched to the gun they were fired from and their original purchaser. While this is a fantastic idea with a lot of potential, its up to the federal government to make it a reality.
So in terms of things we will actually see happen, we can’t count on the Mayor’s best ideas, we can only brace for more punitive measures that harm the gang members themselves (mostly a good thing) but also their families (mostly a bad thing). Its pretty nice to see the micro-stamp idea being brought up again, and I really hope that can become law, but until then, lets not confuse it with reality and lets not confused the Mayor’s new idea as anything but unbalanced punishment that provides no positive incentivesfor gang members to choose not to commit crimes.